Christmas may be a lot of things, but it’s rarely the most romantic time of the year.

Annabelle Thorpe of 101 Holidays shares some ideas on where to head to.

Stressed-out family get-togethers, enforced charades and the compulsory wearing of naff Christmas sweaters are hardly the stuff couples dream of. Instead, why not get away and celebrate the festive season how you want to, whether it’s a snow-draped city-break, an escape to the sun, or a cosy cottage with a roaring fire and a sofa just for two.

The Pre-Season Sharpener

If Christmas and New Year is a time you really have to spend with family, then grab a few days a deux before it all kicks off. There are often fantastic deals to be had in the pre-Christmas weeks.

Head to beautiful Oman, where Turquoise Holidays are currently offering 35% of stays between 5 – 26 December in the sun-drenched resort of Salalah. Or soak up some Caribbean sunshine, and take advantage of 35% off stays at the luxurious Anse Chastenet resort on St Lucia, for stays up to 19 December.

For something shorter, the elegant city of Porto offers a stylish escape, and the chance to stock up on some of the world’s best port, to go along with the inevitable mounds of stilton. Simplest of all, retreat to a luxury hotel for a few nights and escape the madness. Lucknam Park offers a world-class spa, Michelin-star dining and gorgeous walks – with the Georgian city of Bath nearby if you can’t resist the siren call of Christmas shopping.

The City Escape

If your ideal Christmas is a sexy hotel room, cocktails ‘til all hours and romantic dinners together, a city break is a great idea. Prague – with snow whirling over the iconic Charles Bridge, and dozens of cellar bars waiting to warm you - is one of Europe’s most romantic cities, while Bruges offers tranquil river cruises, cobbled streets and all the chocolate you can eat.

Ironically, Christmas is one of the best times for a break in London; the streets retain all their sparkle but the crowds are long gone, making it ideal for walks in the park, dinners in the hottest restaurants without fighting for a table and a chance to make the city your own. And there’s nowhere better at Christmas than New York – twirl around the ice at the Rockefeller Centre, stroll through Central Park and buy each other Christmas presents in Bloomingdales.

The White Stuff

The trouble with a British festive season is that all too often it’s a snow-free zone. To really up the romance factor, spend Christmas in a gorgeous chalet or budget-friendly apartment in the Alps, with days spent whizzing down sparkling pistes under clear, blue skies – or head to Norway, to see the New Year ushered in by the unique sight of the Northern Lights shimmering across the sky.

For a truly unforgettable Christmas or New Year’s Eve, book your own glass igloo in Swedish Lapland, where you can lay and watch the snow fall from the comfort of your own bed. Or for the coolest Christmas – quite literally - book into Sweden’s extraordinary Ice Hotel.

The Un-Festive Season

If what you both want is to escape the whole shebang, there are plenty of Christmas-free options. The extraordinary city of Marrakech is just as hectic and intoxicating on Christmas Day as any other, with souks for browsing, rooftop terrace bars for sunset drinks and beautiful riads to stay in. Or head to Dubai where you can ski in the morning, sunbathe in the afternoon and pretty much avoid tinsel altogether.

Closer to home, hide yourselves away in an isolated cottage with a roaring fire and stunning views. The Lake District offers wonderful scenery and lots of cosy pubs, while Scotland has some wonderfully romantic boltholes, where you can go for days without seeing another person – and dreamy hotels such as The Torridon. If you’re more of a trio than a couple, there are plenty of dog-friendly cottages, who will welcome your four-legged travelling partner.

Christmas isn’t just for couples….

While romance is all very well over the festive season, if you’re without a partner it can be tough – which makes it the perfect time to try a singles holiday. There’s a huge choice of destinations, from UK escapes to safaris and skiing – the perfect way to enjoy Christmas with a new gang of friends.

November 2018